10:15am

Wed March 23, 2011
The Two-Way

Sales Of New Homes Plunged In February To Lowest Pace In Half A Century

There's fresh evidence of how hard things still are in the housing market:

"Sales of new single-family houses in February 2011 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 250,000," the Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported. The agencies add that "this is 16.9 percent 16.9 below the revised January rate of 301,000 and is 28.0 percent below the February 2010 estimate of 347,000."

And, says The Associated Press, that's the slowest pace "on records dating back nearly half a century."

Bloomberg News adds that:

"Builders are struggling to compete with existing homes as foreclosures add to the overhang of unsold properties and drive down prices. The figures underscore the Federal Reserve's view that the housing market 'continues to be depressed' even as the rest of the economy improves."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.